The story of a Shi’ite from Lebanon who converted to Judaism

“Avraham Sinai’s story is difficult to understand. Born 42 years ago in a Shi’ite village in eastern Lebanon, today he is an ultra-Orthodox Jew who studies in a yeshiva and is raising his seven children in Safed. On his walls are pictures of rabbis. His oldest son, Haim,
served in the Givati brigade. His second daughter will be drafted soon. The younger children play Hizbullah terrorist and “shoot” each other.

Only the pita bread and the labeneh hint at the past of this ultra-Orthodox family from Safed, at its former life in Lebanon in the shadow of the Israel-Hizbullah war. Sinai has published a book about his road from Lebanon to Judaism, A Martyr from Lebanon: Life in the Shadow of Danger.

Today he is an integral part of the city’s ultra-Orthodox community, and his previous life seems very far away. His family was with the South Lebanese Army (SLA), a Lebanese militia closely allied with Israel. Sinai, however, says that his connection to Israel preceded the SLA-IDF alliance.

“In the early 1980s the Palestinian terrorist organizations controlled large areas of Lebanon. They were harassing the Shi’ites, and it was natural for us to help the Jews against them. My family had good relations with IDF intelligence. Since I was a child I remember IDF officers hanging around our house.”

Sinai says that at the age of 17 he began actively assisting Israeli intelligence, passing on information on the activities of the PLO and other Palestinian organizations in Lebanon. But then, he says, came the important chapter of his life, the one he is most proud of.

“After the power of the Palestinians declined, my handlers tried to convince me to join Hizbullah. At first I didn’t want to. It was frightening. But my handlers pressured me.”

Click here to read the full story.

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  1. Jack's Shack September 16, 2006 at 1:01 am

    Hi Barbara,

    I thought that it was quite interesting as well.

  2. BarbaraFromCalifornia September 15, 2006 at 11:11 pm

    What a fascinating story, Jack! Thank you for sharing it. I think the fact that this man converted, standing alone, even if he were not Orthodox, speaks volumnes. I must show this article to my husband.

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